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June 19th, 2008
Four Activists Found Dead in Zimbabwe as Violence Mounts

Four opposition activists were found dead on Thursday, according to Zimbabwe’s opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

One of the victims was Abigail Chiroto, the wife of Harare’s mayor, whose body was found badly beaten. On Tuesday, Chiroto was kidnapped along with her four-year old son, Nelson, who was released unscathed. Her husband, Emmanuel Chiroto, is an MDC member and was recently elected as mayor.

The violence comes in the lead-up to a runoff election between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, scheduled for June 27. Seventy MDC members have been killed since the March 29 elections. With just nine days to go before the runoff election, a reported 25,000 have been forced from their homes.

The BBC reported that Zimbabwe’s military has played an active role in Mugabe’s re-election campaign. Zimbabwe’s public broadcaster also said it would no longer broadcast MDC campaign advertisements.

MDC charges Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party with the state-sponsored violence, arrests and the impending food crisis.

South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who was chosen by regional leaders to mediate the political crisis in Zimbabwe, met with Mugabe yesterday and urged him to cancel the runoff vote and work toward a national unity government. Mbeki joins the United Nations, Southern African Development Community and other international leaders stating that fair and free election are impossible. U.S. ambassador to Harare James McGee said today that a “negotiated government” is not the answer to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

This summer, WIDE ANGLE reports from inside Zimbabwe as part of its new web-exclusive documentary series, FOCAL POINT.

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